The 2015 Formula One season starts this weekend with the first pre-season test. The test will take part in Jerez and gives teams the first opportunity to run their 2015 machines properly. Some teams, such as Toro Rosso and Mercedes, have already had shake-downs and filming days but with running on these days restricted, they will be able to get some proper mileage under their belts in the coming week.
Eight teams will be present in Jerez with Force India deciding not to run at all. It had initially been thought that they would run with their 2014 car but the team have decided they would not get any relevant data and so have chosen to make their testing debut in Barcelona with the 2015 car.
Williams were the first team to launch their 2015 machine with images being revealed on the cover of F1 Racing magazine. They were followed by Lotus and McLaren, both who had online galleries of their new cars. Force India revealed their 2015 livery albeit on last year’s car but with a nose to this year’s specifications. The Mercedes broke cover at a shakedown in Silverstone. Sauber revealed their new car this morning while Ferrari will do so later today. Toro Rosso will take the covers off their 2015 challenger in the pit-lane at Jerez. Red Bull recently held an event with their drivers but will also not reveal their car until the first day of testing. All the teams present will then run their cars for the first time over four days of testing.
The driver line-up for each team present is as follows:
|TEAM||DAY 1||DAY 2||DAY 3||DAY 4|
|Mercedes||Nico Rosberg||Lewis Hamilton||Nico Rosberg||Lewis Hamilton|
|Red Bull||Daniel Ricciardo||Daniil Kvyat||Daniel Ricciardo||Daniil Kvyat|
|Williams||Valtteri Bottas||Valtteri Bottas||Felipe Massa||Felipe Massa|
|Ferrari||Sebastian Vettel||Sebastian Vettel||Kimi Räikkönen||Kimi Räikkönen|
|McLaren||Fernando Alonso||Jenson Button||Fernando Alonso||Jenson Button|
|Toro Rosso||Carlos Sainz Jr||Max Verstappen||Carlos Sainz Jr||Max Verstappen|
|Lotus||Pastor Maldonado||Romain Grosjean||Pastor Maldonado||Romain Grosjean|
|Sauber||Marcus Ericsson||Felipe Nasr||Marcus Ericsson||Felipe Nasr|
A number of drivers will be making their debuts for their new teams at this test. Fernando Alonso will be first at McLaren to get a taste of the MP4-30, McLaren’s first car with a Honda engine for over twenty years. He is making his return to the Woking squad following seven years away so it is not a completely new team for him. Daniil Kvyat has made the step up from Toro Rosso to Red Bull Racing to partner Daniel Ricciardo. Kvyat will have to wait until Day 2 before he gets his first taste. Kvyat is of course filling the seat vacated by four time world champion Sebastian Vettel who will drive for Ferrari for the first time on Day 1. Toro Rosso have an all new line-up with Carlos Sainz Jr driving first before Formula One’s youngest ever driver Max Verstappen takes over on the second day. Sauber are the other team with an all new line-up as former Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson joins them alongside former GP2 driver Felipe Nasr.
Pre-season testing, in particular the first test, will not give a clear indication of the pecking order or the performance levels of the car.For example, Kimi Raikkonen went fastest on the first day of practice last year but he had a less than successful season as he struggled to get to grips with a car designed more to Alonso’s taste. nstead it is a chance for the team to properly shakedown the cars for the first time and see how reliable they are. The cars will of course change between now and the Australian Grand Prix – held in March – but testing gives teams to see what is working and what’s not.
After the off-season Formula One is back and ready to get going once again.